The Broadening the Reach of Engineering through Community Engagement (BRECE) Scholars Program provides 4 years of mentoring, academic and financial support to a cohort of 13 financially-challenged and academically-talented students to pursue engineering baccalaureate degrees in the College of Technology and Innovation at Arizona State University. The BRECE scholars program is creating a cohort of socially responsible engineering graduates who are able to apply their engineering training to a broader range of STEM fields including teaching, social entrepreneurship, public service, non-profit and other community engagement areas. The application of engineering to help society serves to attract and retain a broader population of students, particularly those with financial need who wish to help their communities.
Traditionally, community engagement has not been a prominent aspect of engineering education. In fact, engineering students are reported to be more likely than students in other disciplines to believe that individuals cannot create change in society and less likely to describe themselves as altruistic. ASU calls on all who reside within the institution to share the responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it. The BRECE Scholars Program represents an exemplary case of a holistic educational approach towards nurturing socially responsible engineers; utilizing both curricular and co-curricular activities.
National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education